James Renwick: I know everybody gets the offseason training manual, but a lot of guys have told me they got specific instructions just for them, did you get any?
Garrett Mock: I've got a cool story for you. This offseason I went back to [Mock's alma mater] the University of Houston. I'm so thankful that I got to go there. When I first got to school, it was rude awakening to get there and get into strength and conditioning. At U of H stretching, strength, agility...just an intense strength and conditioning regimen in college. I took my training manual into the coaches at U of H and they said, "Okay, we're going to do this, and add a couple weights, a little sprinting, a little agility training." It was great.
When I was there I got to meet, and hang out, with Roger Clemens. Ross Ohlendorf and I trained together down there. Clemens and the U of H head coach went to high school together. Ross and Clemens have the same agent. So Ross' agent introduces me, and Clemens says I look like a 21 year old version of him. I got to go into the weight room with him, and for about 45 minutes we just talked. I talked to him about his training because he set the bar for pitcher's training. What to train, how to train, how often to train. He says, "Next offseason I want you to train with me at my house." I don't want to be in baseball for two years, or just have a cup of coffee and then have to shut it down. I want to play for as long as my body will allow. I'm a big guy, I'm not as big as Clemens, but when I am fully grown and matured I could be. Next offseason I'm looking forward to learning from one of the greatest. He said to me, "Garrett, I needed to lose a little fat, I went with my personal trainer to Arizona and in 12 days I lost 6% body fat and ran 30 miles."
In 12 days? When it comes to baseball this is what I feel I've been called to do. I'm looking forward to this season, but honestly, I can't wait for the next offseason. I'm gonna push him, he's going to push me. You've gotta have some serious brain power to be able to work out like that, real discipline, and so he's going to be helping push me physically and mentally. I'm sitting there, and I see his face and I shake his hand and I felt like it was some virtual reality thing that people would pay to do. You know, talk baseball with one of the greatest. I got to hold Cy Young award, man that thing's like 15 pounds. I was hanging out in the weight room with Jeff Bagwell and Brad Lidge. Clemens says "I've got these guys in the best shape they ever have been. I'm gonna take you under my wing and you'll have keys to my house and we're gonna do it." Once I do get a chance I don't want to be some back of the rotation guy, I want to be a difference maker. I think about baseball all the time, it's my job. For a club like the Diamondbacks, it's always a gamble to turn your pitching over to young pitchers, but for guys like me, Ohlendorf and AJ Shappi, we want to be the set rotation and be good.
James Renwick: Some of the guys who are higher up were a little disappointed with the offseason moves the Diamondbacks made because it seems like it locked up a couple positions for three or four years, but most of the pitchers they picked up seem to be done within two or three years, which means you should just be arriving. Does it give you more incentive, knowing there will be holes in the rotation to fill in just two years?
Garrett Mock: That's exactly how I look at it. I just got done throwing in bullpen an hour ago. There's guys 6'7" and 6'5" and we're all pushing each other. I know that the guys I'm running with right now, we don't want to be in the minors, we don't like the minors. The way I see it, I want to be starting for the Diamondbacks, then hand the ball off to Shane Nance to close, and I want to be throwing to Chris Snyder, because he's a U of H alum. I'm not going to say I'm ready right now, but I'm ready to get ready.
James Renwick: Who have you seen in the organization that has impressed you?
Garrett Mock: It was kind of a shock when I first got here because everybody's good. Today when I was throwing, Jaime D'Antona almost nailed me with a 450 foot shot. Zeringue? I've been playing against him for three years and I can't get the guy out. You can't single out one person because when we have our meetings and everything, I look around and everybody's good. The D'Backs went through a rough couple years after the World Series rebuilding. Randy left, and now they brought in Russ Ortiz, and Javier Vazquez, and there's guys in the minors getting it done and guys in the majors who don't have the, you know, testicular fortitude, to get it done. None of these guys are scared to compete, get their uni dirty and get some cuts and scrapes. South Bend was a perfect example. We had a good run in the playoffs and a lot of these teams were ready to go home but not us. We were there to win, and in Yakima it was the same way. Now I'm meeting guys ahead of me, and these guys I'm just now getting acquainted with. We're gonna make some sparks
Look, I'm not going to go off and push God on everybody. But everybody's been blessed, he blessed me with the ability to do something special. When baseball's done in my life, I'm not going to be one of those old farts talking about how good I could have been. Even if today's my last day, I want to make sure I did as much as I good with what he gave me.
A lot of people don't know this, but I had to move out of my house when I was 15 years old. My parents had some problems, and they couldn't support me financially. I lived with my grandparents and for awhile my best friend. My summer league coach knew I couldn't afford to pay for the teams, so he made me do work, and he paid me for it. I know I couldn't have gotten as far as I have without my brother. A lot of things could have gone wrong, and they didn't, and for that I thank God, and I just try to work as hard as I can to do all I can with what he gave me.